Thursday, July 19, 2007
Drops of Grace
Our local indy film festival began last night. It started right after I moved to town, and I've gone to at least a night of it every year since the beginning. It's a little festival, so we don't get the swells like Sundance or Tribeca (or heavens above, Cannes), but thanks to the Internet's ability to publicize, entries come from far and wide. Some are magnificent, some a lot less so. (Note to filmmakers: don't sacrifice your story for a tight, great shot of whatever-it-is to show off your camera trickery. And in the name of Popcornus, the god of cinema, do your research! Details matter and if you ignore them, thereby yanking me out of the world of the film, don't expect me to thank you for the jolt.)
I really don't go to snark. I go to find films like Darius Goes West. Follow the link. Really. I'll wait. Darius and several members of the crew, including director Logan Smalley were in attendance. If you see this film and don't have an urge to slash the tires of able-bodied people who park in handicapped spaces and/or a bone-deep desire to demand curb cuts and ramps at all buildings - well, I don't want to know you. Honestly. Get thee gone. I consort not with the soulless.
Simply put, Darius Weems is living with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy; the same disease that killed his brother at age 19. Darius grew up in Athens, Georgia and had never seen an ocean, a mountain or even a state line. This is a film about his journey west with a band of friends (who, by the way, are extraordinary young men), ostensibly to talk MTV into tricking out his wheelchair on the popular show "Pimp My Ride," but really about seeing the world and experiencing it - mixing with people (and praying Chihuahuas), dealing with mechanical breakdowns, and seeing how much of this country is accessible to those who can't walk. (That's a shocker - Carlsbad Cavern, yes; the St. Louis Arch, no.) It's uplifting, heartbreaking, and anger-provoking in ways that Unca Jerry's telethon isn't.
See it. Donate to Charley's Fund. Then demand change.